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[Counter-Point] Our Lovable Flying Whale

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  • [Counter-Point] Our Lovable Flying Whale

    Preface- The [Counter-Point] tag will be my means, if I continue to do so, of playing devil's advocate to something I've observed in game in TG. I do not mean ruin people's good time nor to invalidate methods or opinions or play-styles. What I hope to gain by a measured, and hopefully well argued Counter-Point, is either personal insight as to why I am wrong or to help potentially improve incrementally what I am addressing. In no means am I attempting to usurp leadership.

    ====

    My first point of address is the Gal-Drop.

    The Galaxy is the GO-TO method of theater deployment in PS2. Its capacity is large, its survivability is grand, has large flexibility as a fighting platform, and offers the fall back option of logistics. Its a stellar platform that deserves its position in the battlefield.

    However, I think the way in which we've standardized the Gal-Drop might be a bit limiting and dangerous to the air-borne troops. Take for example a situation that occurred on Esamir a day or two ago. A whole squad was planned to drop on the Point-Building (Box 2 Story). Our approach was timely but as the distance between the Gal and the Drop-Zone (DZ) decreased the Gal decreased speed and altitude exponentially. The end result was about a four meter drop onto a roof that was focused on the giant hovering sky-whale: we all died within seconds.

    Back then I voiced a concern about that particular drop and the trend that I've noticed of telegraphing Air-Borne ops with a giant slow or stationary low altitude galaxy. The generalized point to why such an operation style became standardized as I believe stated by MK succinctly was: The higher the altitude and speed the increased chance of poor drops as well as general scattering. Considering the importance of formation and tight stacking I can completely understand the reason for this standardization.

    However, in practice, minimizing drop altitude and velocity is NOT a total panacea. Let me explain this counter-point by attacking both Low altitude and Low Velocity simultaneously.

    Low Altitude drops place the Galaxy into the visual scope of the battle as it is happening this means more things are now aware and capable of harming or preparing for it's approach. If the galaxy is non-combative this is dangerous as it alerts the forces to an impending drop. Surprise is lost.

    Low Velocity drops are not necessarily bad in and of themselves. In fact it is a standardized behavior to utilize stationary or near stationary Galaxies as reinforcement platforms. However, reducing speed to drop necessarily increases the time it takes to drop. This means that if spotted the enemy will have more time to respond and react to your presence. You afford time to the enemy.

    Combine these two and you get a perfect storm of counter-acting forces against the simple force multipliers of Speed of Deployment and Localized Numbers. In total you have now reduced the effectiveness of your movement and placed it on at nearly equal footing to the enemy. If they have equal forces regionally, they'll be expecting you now and repositioning to nullify your local numbers multiplier. If they have more, they are all coming your way now and you better think of a plan of reinforcement. Worse yet, if there are flak MAXes in the area and the Galaxy is sufficiently close to the DZ the dropped infantry will now be buzzed by the fragmentation damage of the flak.

    ---Counter-Proposal---

    This brings me then to how to re-approach the Galaxy Drop to maintain squad cohesion while minimizing the negatives associated with the Low-Alt/Vel drop. Before, we do this, however, we must understand what allows for cohesion of the drop. Our current SOP is 'DROP-DROP-DROP' and at that enunciation of that last 'p' we drop as one group.

    This isn't a reasonable SOP for a few reasons. Latency limits when we all hear the order to 'DROP-DROP-DROP'; indeed if one watches a recording of the drop pattern you will see a level of separation merely by the time lag from when the pilot says 'Drop-Drop-Drop' and when 1-12 squad members actually hear it. Second, in combat situations with heavy flak and other battlefield noise, audible cues might be missed; a squad memeber might hear '-Drop-Drop' but have missed the first utterance or any combination of such miscommunication. Thirdly, it takes up COMM space which is a highly valuable thing in hot environments. Finally, it places the troops dropping at a potential disadvantage of situational awareness, they must be focusing on the call-out cue not their landing zone.

    Instead I suggest that the call to drop is balanced between the individual discretion and an overall order. An older SOP that was used back when I first started was that a WayPoint would signal the drop zone and the troop would focus on their mini-map until the Galaxy passed closest to the point, unless told otherwise. This negates any latency issues, when I press Eject, I know exactly where I should be appearing outside of the Galaxy. This affords the Gal pilot the ability to drop at higher altitudes and velocities.

    Finally, if there is still concern about the risk of spreading the drop, the Galaxy can change its drop pattern from one of being Parallel to the ground to being nearly perpendicular. This further minimizes the risk of spread by decreasing the horizontal distance being traveled throughout the drop.


    ---

    As a post-script I want to point out that Valkyrie drops do not supplant the Galaxy. A Galaxy has squad scale functionality, provides safety to its passengers, and has overall sustainability in the battlefield.

  • #2
    Re: [Counter-Point] Our Lovable Flying Whale

    I guess that's why Paratroopers uses visual lights to signal the drop.

    Yes the "drop" call isn't perfect... Maybe a longer countdown would help 3-2-1-drop-drop-drop...

    The slowing down also may react differently on different players clients too, so that may mess things up until the galaxy is at its final "drop" speed.

    Maybe the pilot should just lock the galaxy to get everyone out at once.

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: [Counter-Point] Our Lovable Flying Whale

      Interesting thought.

      A counter argument to the stealth aspect is that flying Galaxies to the target while hugging the ground drastically reduces the vehicles profile and chance of interception en-route; you might make a bit of a louder entrance, but they aren't going to see you coming from a kilometer off either.

      Still, it might make sense to pair low altitude drops with active gunners in the Galaxy. If they're going to make a loud, obvious landing, then they should at least stick around to provide fire support and force multiplication to make up for giving the squad away.

      It also might make sense to have throw away Galaxies drop from high altitude more often, to maximize the element of surprise on landing. That comes with a cost, though; less intel on the drop zone and much higher risk of scattering or flubbing the LZ. We should be very cognizant of the advantages and disadvantages of each.

      I definitely wouldn't want the waypoint driven, self-managed drop technique you describe as a standard. Final drop control--up to the very last second!--should be maintained by the SL and pilot in case we need to wave off and to reduce risk of miscommunication and cohesion loss. If you let people handle their own drops as a matter of course, you'll have people dropping when they aren't supposed to all the time and it'll make things more difficult for SLs to control.

      I *would* like to see it attempted as an explicit SL order. I'd be very curious to know if it could reliably result in close drop groupings at speed!



      Comment


      • #4
        Re: [Counter-Point] Our Lovable Flying Whale

        I'd argue, at least for TG-Only squads, that the risk of a missed drop should be minor. For example if the Gal pulls off due to fire or SL orders the group never gets the cue to drop as the gal never flew over the way-point.

        Ultimately, excepting the 'LOCKED' Gal force out drop all drops are functionally up to the member. The only difference is how one communicates the drop order. One utilizes an audible command and the other utilizes a visual command (kind of like the Green Light used in Airborne ops).

        I'll pull back a little and say that the audible cue isn't as bad as I first suggested. It does have its flaws, lag time and potential to be exacerbated by latency among other risks of miscommunications, but its not inherently bad.

        Maybe, then, to refocus the discussion, it might be more prudent to talk about LZ types and what a Galaxy/SL should expect of on ground conditions and how to constrain the drop parameters to fit for a successful drop and ultimately mission.

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: [Counter-Point] Our Lovable Flying Whale

          I think there are a number of competing constraints for our drops:
          • Desire for a quiet entrance
          • In transit stealth and safety
          • Speed of execution
          • Drop cohesion
          • Drop accuracy
          • Fire support
          • Reconnaissance


          We're going to get a very different mix of these from different altitudes, speeds, approaches, etc.

          Thinking about it, we've got two types of drops. Assault drops onto potentially hostile situations demand good cohesion and benefit from a quiet entrance, local fire support, and the intel/precision to drop into a position with some degree of relative safety to prevent the team from landing in a kill zone. They're also often time sensitive. Positioning drops to take high ground, on the other hand, privilege accuracy and reliable delivery above stealth and speed.

          Putting an AV team onto a mountaintop seems like an obvious application for a low, slow drop from a galaxy that hugs the ground on the way in. Dropping an assault team onto a contested point could really go either way; a low drop would ensure best placement and cohesion and provide some local fire support. A high drop might make more sense if you don't expect the point proper to be heavily defended, and the main enemy force to be off from it somewhat. Dropping from high up might mask your entrance a bit and give you more time to settle in before the enemy responds.

          I think a somewhat tangential topic--reconnaissance--is important to the decision involved. We don't often scout our LZs ahead of time (I'm definitely guilty of this, I often send in Galaxies blind) but knowing what the exact situation on the ground is would do wonders for choosing our approach. Something I might try next time I'm PL is grabbing a reaver and a stalker infil kit to land at/in the target base and call the drops with up to date intel.



          Comment


          • #6
            Re: [Counter-Point] Our Lovable Flying Whale

            I'm going to throw my $0.02 in here. Not because I know what I'm talking about or anything, but because I stayed at Holiday Inn Express(tm) last night. lol

            Lately I've been thinking that some times, in a very hot (lots of AA) assault type situation, it might be beneficial to fly over the LZ low and fast and eject everyone using the lock out method. You could reliably land everyone on the roof of say, a triple, with pretty good accuracy, and therefore increase your chances of make it out while keeping the Gal alive. Smaller roofs would probably not be possible though. Perhaps we could have a protocol for this, call out "hot drop, pilot will eject" or something, I dunno.

            I can tell you from the pilot's perspective though, this is pretty difficult. You basically have to fly in a straight line (and therefore, hope nothing is in the way like a tree or an antenna) while you press PgDn (or whatever) to open that menu and prepare to eject everyone on final approach. In the meantime, you can't fly the Gal. I suppose you could set up a macro, but in either way it would require a little practice (which, I personally, am always willing to do, especially as regards increasing my Gal piloting skills).

            But those cases are pretty rare. Usually, I prefer taking those couple extra moments to fine tune my drop and put the squad somewhere highly accurate and advantageous (top of nice bldg, balcony on Tech Plant, etc.). The accuracy and cohesion this provides outweighs the disadvantages, IMO.

            Finally, I would like to stress the importance of planning your approach and using terrain for cover. Fly in from an unexpected angle, stay low, use terrain for cover, come out from behind a mountain, and you have just dropped a full squad (or 2!) of TG whoop-(you know what) directly on the point (or other objective) before they even know what's going on. Remember, low is life when flying the Gal!
            "The power of accurate observation is commonly called cynicism by those who have not got it." - George Bernard Shaw



            Comment


            • #7
              Re: [Counter-Point] Our Lovable Flying Whale

              My thoughts on this are as follows

              -bear in mind alot of what im saying here has not been researched in any way Its all things i recall from shows on nat geo and history channle etc... so if anyone has any input on what the actual procedure was or still is id appreciate it.
              I thought I recalled a history channle show were paratroopers during WW2 were deployed behind enemy lines via higher altitude drops to disrupt the enemy. Though I also remember at the time it was particularly dangerous due to the technology available at the time. I suggest we look at doing the same deployment behind enemy lines. Higher altitude drops, when were deploying our troops to the rear and to the flanks of a fight, because the stealth aspect would be more valuable here, and also with the LZ being perhaps an open field, and the enemy having trouble locating us that would give us the necessary time to group up from a more scattered drop. A tactic to try and not a tactic to make official right here.
              Also Low altitude gal drops often time mimic this real life technique http://www.popularmechanics.com/mili...-a-helicopter/ the only difference is that often times were under fire, and that theres twelve of us doing that at a time and oh yeah there no ropes to manage. Also I think i should mention about your experiences with the low altitude drop. Also consider what is better. A shotgun style pattern of squad members around the building with perhaps some bouncing far off beyond the reach of medics, with the added benefit of stealth, or everyone landing tight on the building and minimizing the element of surprise, but with the added strength of squad cohesion... honestly its something i think we should taylor to the individual mission

              All in all I think we shouldnt dismiss HALO style drops, but we must know were to use them! behind enemy lines etc...

              Also to address the comms for the galaxy drop vs having the people drop over the squad way, uh yeah No Thankyou on a personal basis. If you want to express that order in one of your own squads and give it a go for your squads your totally welcome to try. Here is my personal answer to that though. You are Right Comm Space is valuable! There is lag associated with the time you give the order to drop and the time the squad hears it. That being said its not a total wast of space and not a total nightmare either. often times the delay between everything being said and everyone pressing there drop key is half a second and a second and a half maximum with most people being closer to the half a second time. The alternative you suggested, however has a few things essentially wrong with it
              -The SL decides to wave off even though the gal is allready over the point resulting in a drop that easily wipes the squad.
              -The more things said by the SL leading up to the mission ive found, gets people interested and as a result they listen better.
              -The Current method is more natrual to utilize by people that are freshly joining.
              -Having something like a gal drop being left up to the individual members id say is easier to mess up than having one voice telling the squad to exit the galaxy
              -This ones just for fun but (The Gal Pilot doesn't get to do much, why rob him of one of the few things he gets to do :/)
              I beleive the reason we dont do as you suggested with the waypoint is simply a matter of idealogy to be honest. In TG we want the squad working together as a unit, instead of as individuals. In the method you suggested it leaves it up to the individuals, not the the group/SL. Its a balancing act we need to give the squad members a slight autonomy, but at the same time if too much autonomy is given than it results in a less cohesive squad in the longrun witch equals the squad to be more susceptible to a wipe.

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: [Counter-Point] Our Lovable Flying Whale

                Originally posted by starstriker1 View Post
                Putting an AV team onto a mountaintop seems like an obvious application for a low, slow drop from a galaxy that hugs the ground on the way in. Dropping an assault team onto a contested point could really go either way; a low drop would ensure best placement and cohesion and provide some local fire support. A high drop might make more sense if you don't expect the point proper to be heavily defended, and the main enemy force to be off from it somewhat. Dropping from high up might mask your entrance a bit and give you more time to settle in before the enemy responds.
                I agree with that list of competing constraints. It a succinct way it demonstrates all the values any particular operation can have. I feel that my concern against the current method of slowing down to a hover before a drop places the domain of the suggestion in only aggressive assault drops. I would be willing to concede that a lower altitude drop might be necessary under significant time constraint but I'd still propose trying to find an effective middle ground. My ears still ring from the 2 meter hover drop that placed us on a rooftop full of flak MAXes. :P

                To that point I'd like to state that my initial concern, something that I think I lost when explaining the OP. While stealth versus telegraphing is a concern it doesn't have to be an overriding one. I only meant increasing altitude to give the landing party a little more room from maneuver. (and this, I now realize, excludes the potentially situational benefit of using a Gal as temporary cover from Small Arms fire)

                ==========


                Originally posted by Randy_Shughart_ClwFL View Post
                Lately I've been thinking that some times, in a very hot (lots of AA) assault type situation, it might be beneficial to fly over the LZ low and fast and eject everyone using the lock out method. You could reliably land everyone on the roof of say, a triple, with pretty good accuracy, and therefore increase your chances of make it out while keeping the Gal alive. Smaller roofs would probably not be possible though. Perhaps we could have a protocol for this, call out "hot drop, pilot will eject" or something, I dunno.
                Would you be willing to help me test out a 'diving drop' method? Some maps might benefit (Esamir or Indar's north) from high altitude drops where terrain concealment is minimal. Also, flying nape of the earth minimizes mobility when being engaged by Air units and the all too common Magrider which can decimate Gals in seconds.

                As a BattleGal pilot do you think it is reasonable to be able to drop troops from moderate altitudes (ie 50m to 100m) accurately within 10 meter spread if stationary or hovering?

                ============================================

                Originally posted by RaymondScout View Post
                The alternative you suggested, however has a few things essentially wrong with it
                -The SL decides to wave off even though the gal is already over the point resulting in a drop that easily wipes the squad.
                This is semantic in function. The difference between the two forms is that one has an unclear future order expected; the other has a clear future order expected. Your perception of advantage is a side-effect of the SL being able to delay until they have a condition for dropping or not - where no such allowance is given in the other forcing a quicker decision making process and discouraging delay of clear and precise orders.

                Indeed, often times in practice the SL gives the pilot "drop-order-duties" completely outsourcing such duties in the exact same way of the "WayPoint Style Drop".



                Originally posted by RaymondScout View Post
                -The more things said by the SL leading up to the mission ive found, gets people interested and as a result they listen better.
                I'm confused as to how either option makes the SL more or less chatty. In fact shouldn't the clear and precise orders be developed before your team is even en route so as to afford them time to kit properly?

                I will add on a tangent; that an SL/PL never needs to validate their orders for me to be engaged, and this is specifically a desire outcome of the Outfit's operational standards.



                Originally posted by RaymondScout View Post
                -The Current method is more natrual to utilize by people that are freshly joining.
                I'm unfamiliar with a desire of TG to reduce its available toolkit to accommodate the common-non-outfit squad member.

                Originally posted by RaymondScout View Post
                -Having something like a gal drop being left up to the individual members id say is easier to mess up than having one voice telling the squad to exit the galaxy
                This is an argument which wholly ignores the fact that all drops, excepting the style suggested by Randy (a lockout method), are ultimately set up in a {cue}->{player decision} manner. The fundamental differences between the modes of drop style is what manner the cue is distributed; audibly or visually (remember this requires looking at the minimap to see when they pass over the drop zone; akin to seeing the green light in the cabin during Market Garden).


                Originally posted by RaymondScout View Post
                -This ones just for fun but (The Gal Pilot doesn't get to do much, why rob him of one of the few things he gets to do :/)
                Didn't you say that the SL needs last say before a drop is conducted? Why outsource it to the Gal-Pilot?

                ====

                Originally posted by RaymondScout View Post
                I beleive the reason we dont do as you suggested with the waypoint is simply a matter of idealogy to be honest. In TG we want the squad working together as a unit, instead of as individuals. In the method you suggested it leaves it up to the individuals, not the the group/SL. Its a balancing act we need to give the squad members a slight autonomy, but at the same time if too much autonomy is given than it results in a less cohesive squad in the longrun witch equals the squad to be more susceptible to a wipe.
                I must not have been clear, because the method I'm proposing is a style that was used by TG a few years back and I do not understand how such a suggestion reduces cohesion on a squad level. In no situation does an SL control when a player drops out; what you control is the cue or order. In this method the SL places a target DZ via waypoint, the Gal pilot is to fly over it, and the squad understands that when the Gal 'touches' the waypoint they drop unless told otherwise.

                I would very much enjoy talking with you over Teamspeak or something to elucidate it better.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: [Counter-Point] Our Lovable Flying Whale

                  Lots of Yellow, how is that done anyways? lol I think i came across as more antagonistic then i meant too, I apologize and looking back on my post I think i may have had it come across that way, I guess perhaps it struck a nerve and I was quick to respond. Ill share why... and ill make an effort to refrain from such things in the future. In the past with some squad members it has become difficult to keep them in check. such squad members (non tg of course) did things that were always on the verge. They were never quite with the squad all the time, yet at the same time whenever i called them out on it they were quick to rejoin with the squad follow orders etc... For a few minutes until they decided to wander off again. This would happen enough to were you never quite got around to kicking them, but they continued the behavior. Also certain tg members (Witch i refuse to name because i dont believe in doing so as its a non proffesional practice have sort of gone slightly out of line in core areas.) Once i asked for an av squad and I specifically asked for anything but an infil because i already had one and it took a solid 3 to 5 minutes to get him to switch "also was newer so im quick to forgive". Also i realize i probably should have just kicked these squad members or explained better and that is on me. I do suppose it was this reason that I believe my "perceived issue" was a loss in cohesion. When I heard the squad doing something normally reserved for the SL or gal pilot the red flags went up and i had the auto reaction of "OH GREAT a suggestion thats going to make it harder to coral my squad in a timed situation." looking back on it now im will to admit my automatic reaction was wrong and I just kept going on it as i wrote. Making a closer analyzation, It actually appears like a fairly viable method, but I myself will stick to the tried and true method that we currently have for most ops but I may give the drop via squad way a go as well.
                  -anways signing off.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: [Counter-Point] Our Lovable Flying Whale

                    Originally posted by Ytman View Post
                    Would you be willing to help me test out a 'diving drop' method? Some maps might benefit (Esamir or Indar's north) from high altitude drops where terrain concealment is minimal. Also, flying nape of the earth minimizes mobility when being engaged by Air units and the all too common Magrider which can decimate Gals in seconds.
                    Sure. As a matter of fact, as I recall watching some old videos of The Enclave, this is how they did their drops. But they were just ditching Gals. As a side note, I think their sort of "shock and awe" method of overwhelming numbers probably depended on you seeing those 10+ full Gals coming at you (in order to strike fear). But perhaps they did the diving method for accuracy. At any rate, I'm almost always up for doing experimenting. FOR SCIENCE! :)

                    As for approaching without cover, I still think coming in low and fast is the best way. Most people are not paying attention, and especially not looking for Gals flying very very low (<30m). So by the time they see you and open up with AA, you are almost to the target already (usually). Even if they do see you early, a well armored Gal has such surviveability as to deliver the payload to the target anyway (unless there is really a lot of AA, and/or they see you really early).

                    Originally posted by Ytman View Post
                    As a BattleGal pilot do you think it is reasonable to be able to drop troops from moderate altitudes (ie 50m to 100m) accurately within 10 meter spread if stationary or hovering?
                    I rely on third person view to place the squad extremely accurately. I suppose you could reliably land everyone on the roof of, say, a triple by using the minimap. Or, I guess you could maybe get used to using that top view (something I haven't done yet).

                    But the main problem I have in maintaining altitude 50-100m is that all the enemies can see you from what seems like miles around. And everyone's favorite pinata target is a Gal, especially a stationary one.
                    "The power of accurate observation is commonly called cynicism by those who have not got it." - George Bernard Shaw



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